When first responders arrived, some of the students had already climbed up the embankment and others were then helped up the hill with ropes and baskets, Salyersville Fire Chief Paul Howard said.
Gov. Andy Beshear said in a tweet that Kentucky State Police were on the scene, and “we are responding swiftly.”
The bus exited state Route 40 near Salyersville and went over an embankment, state Trooper Michael Coleman said.
It wasn’t immediately clear what caused the crash. “We’re really in the beginning stages of the investigation,” Coleman said, adding the road was expected to remain shut for several hours.
Some of the injured were flown from the crash by helicopter and others were taken by ambulances and private vehicles, officials said. Updated conditions were not immediately available.
There has been discussion about the possibility of a guard rail in the area where the crash happened, but water and sewer lines under the roadway have created barriers to moving forward, Magoffin Judge Executive Matt Wireman said.
He said several crashes have been reported in the general area over the years.
“That's typical in any rural area where you have a lot of winding roads,” he said
The school bus did not have seat belts, Meadows said.
The National Transportation Safety Board renewed a call earlier this month for adding seat belts on school buses after completing an investigation of a 2020 crash in Tennessee that killed the driver and a 7-year-old girl.
U.S. Sens. Mitch McConnell and Rand Paul joined state and local officials in offering prayers for the families involved.